US gives BI pat on the back for blocking 200 American sex offenders going to PH

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The United States government has commended the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for preventing 200 American registered sex offenders (RSOs) from entering the Philippines in 2018.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said Friday the bureau was recently awarded a certificate of commendation by the US Embassy in Manila after registering the second highest number of excluded American RSOs throughout the world last year.

Mexico, which shares a land border with the US in the southwest, recorded the highest number of intercepted RSOs.

“I commend our officers deployed at our ports of entry for a job well done. Because of your vigilance and alertness, you were able to turn away these sex offenders to protect fellow Filipinos from possible exploitation,” Morente said in a statement.

The US Embassy’s citation specifically commended the BI’s port operations division (POD) as well as the airport operations section (AOS), travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU), and border control and enforcement unit (BCIU), which are all under the POD, for successfully implementing the “Angel Watch” program in the country’s ports.

Based on BI-POD data, a total of 156 RSOs, 128 of them Americans, were denied entry into the Philippines in 2018 while a total of 185 sex offenders were excluded, 128 of them Americans from the previous year.

“We have been continuously receiving notices from foreign governments about RSOs who were monitored to be traveling to the Philippines and this information is immediately encoded in our database to alert our immigration officers at the ports of entry,” BI-POD chief Grifton Medina said.

A global initiative of the Department of Homeland Security, Operation Angel Watch targets RSOs traveling abroad who are likely to engage in child sex tourism.

It was reported that since its inception more than a decade ago, Operation Angel Watch have identified thousands of sex crime perpetrators and advance notice of their travels were transmitted to their countries of destination.

Sex offenders, or those who have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, are excludable under the Philippine Immigration Act.

They were also included in the country’s blacklist “to prevent any attempt to re-enter the Philippines.” (PNA)

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